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Three web domains seized in online job scam

Edmonton (September 30, 2019) – Edmonton Police have seized three web domains as a result of an online job scam investigation. According to the police, there were 93 employment scam reports during the first half of 2019, with a total loss of over $240,000. Authorities underlined the importance for job seekers to take the time to research the validity of the job offer.

In the course of an ongoing investigation, the Cyber Crimes Unit of the Edmonton Police seized three web domains. Following numerous complaints, the cyber investigators determined an increase in reported employment scams involving fake job ads.

Letter sent to job seeker in employment scam. (Edmonton Police)

The fraudsters were using the job sharing site Indeed.com to put their phony job descriptions in circulation. The professional looking websites, job ads, and correspondence made the employment scam hard to see through. The entire hiring process appeared authentic to the fooled job-seeker. ‘In this particular scam, the suspects had copied a legitimate business’ website, replaced phone numbers with their own and were hosting these sites under .ca domains,’ said Detective Phil Hawkins, with Edmonton’s Cyber Crimes Unit.

The scammers used three Canadian web domains as links in their email signatures. Detective Hawkins explained: ‘Once we became aware of this, we seized all three websites.’

The authorities are seeking to make the public aware that online job scams are becoming increasingly common and may take various forms. In this case, it is described that victims of this typical job scam received an alleged cash advance in the form of a fraudulent cheque after being ‘hired’. Later, they were instructed to transfer all or part of the money into bitcoin or another account. Finally, the fake cheque bounced and the ’employee’ was defrauded of the amount they directed into bitcoin or similar.

Fake cheque “cash advance” sent to job seeker in employment scam. (Edmonton Police)

During the first half of 2019, Edmonton Police received 93 reports of online employment scams totaling an overall loss of $240,925.83. Edmonton’s Cyber Crimes Unit had already seized web domains in connection with employment scams which makes this the second incident.

The common online employment websites and social media platforms are aware of the problem and continually checking their users and content for fraudulent profiles and job postings. Nevertheless, it is important for job seekers to research the validity of the job offer properly. More information can be found on the Edmonton Police’s website for prevention.

Anyone who has been a victim of this scam is encouraged to report it to police at 780-423-4567 or come into a police station. If you suspect a job posting or offer is fraudulent, but have not been a victim of the scam, please report it to the hosting website and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.